Tuesday, November 14, 2006


I think my book is officially dead.

Remember how I said I was doing an experiment with this book by writing it without an outline? Yeah, well, I've discovered that I need an outline. Not only that, I need details about everyone's past, as well as their motivations. So I've learned that I need to have plot outlines as well as character outlines.

How did I come to this conclusion? Just before WFC, I got to the point of my story where the bad guys kidnap the hero. This should be a really exciting point, right? I should not be able to wait to start writing the climactic dramatic scenes. But I find that I'm dreading writing it, because I don't know exactly who the villians are and why they're doing what they're doing. Oh, sure, I know they're part of an Underground-Mafia-type-outfit that's out for the protagonist because he's the only Powerful person of his generation that can use all four Powers, but other than that, I got nothin'. Actually, now that I read it, it's not so bad. Maybe I'm depressed about the book because I figure my word count, at best, is going to be 50K. I consider it a YA book, so that's a decent word count, but still. It seems kind of wimpy. I dunno. Maybe I just need to put it aside for awhile and come back to it once I've done a decent outline and character backgrounds.

One could look at this as a waste of six months. I choose to look at is as a lesson learned. Also, this means I'm free to start working on my short story goal.

Sometimes this whole writing business overwhelms me.


Kelly McCullough said...

Leaping in here, it sounds like you're not dead in the water, so much as at a temporary impass, and one I understand well as an outline person.

I tend to do a rough overall outline before starting and then a huge carefully detailed one about a third of the way through. that second one always comes after I hit the don't know what to do next wall. Invariably, I hit some point where I don't know what happens next. I then spend the next two days to weeks trying vainly to push forward without a complete outline and understanding of everything I need to know to finish the book.

Eventually I come to the eureka moment where I recognize that I've been here before. Then I take a long walk by myself, or pace the house, (anything but type) while I think it through. Then, once I know what's going on, I write it all out and move on.

So, happens to everybody. No need to stress. You'll think about it for a while. Then you'll fix it.

As for word count. When I'm writing YA I shoot for 50-60k. That's how long they're supposed to be, especially when you're just breaking in and no one wants to spend the money to print more than the minimum. So, deep breaths, then back to work.

Holly said...

It's probably good you aren't afraid to toss something aside and start over. But here's hoping a great idea for the book comes soon. Maybe it's not dead, only hiding. :p

Firehawk said...


Don't feel bad. I have, oh, eight or ten busted novels hanging around, leering at me like the ghost of Xmas past whenever I explore my document archives. They all suffered that, "I got nothing," or, "This isn't going anywhere," thing.

You'll either figure it out or you'll have to move on and hope it comes back to life while you're working on the next big thing.

Oh, and there's no such thing as wasted time. Time doesn't really exist, so it can't be wasted or well spent. That's my take on the situation, anyway.

It'll all work out.